Utopian/scientific and the questions of values

Marx’s classic theories are more of a liability than an asset at this point: they give the impression of misdiagnosis. The larger critique of marx and marxists in the context of empirical studies tends to be far more successful. The left needs to propose an expert analysis and response and present a completely new face to the public. The classic distinction of utopian and scientific given by engels is part of the same problematic: the scientific basis of marx’s thinking about modes of production is not there and the resulting charge of utopian against any constructive effort backfires comletely.

Mode of production theory Continue reading “Utopian/scientific and the questions of values”

Kant, origins of ‘end of history’ meme, and the place of free agency

The strangest part of the ‘end of history’ confusion is that it points to something real but in a form that has suffered hopeless confusion of terms. From garbled hegel to leftist then rightist meme juggling the crypto-teleological term that came into being has courted pseudo-science, ideological tug of war, and neo-liberal apotheosis. Continue reading “Kant, origins of ‘end of history’ meme, and the place of free agency”

Now or never

Red Forty-eight Group: now or never…

February 29th, 2016

The world isn’t ready for neo-communism, but it wasn’t/isn’t ready for either social democracy or, gasp, socialism as referenced by Sanders, the reason it forever goes into ‘next election’ mode. But Sanders has shown that the times have changed: a new public is stirring. But the world has never been ready to confront the nature of economic dysfunction and the real and intrinsic failure of capitalism in a crisis of increasingly desperate climate change. So the point is to prompt the original idea of ‘what to do’ inherited from the successors to the French Revolution who saw that a theory of economy and class was needed: presto, Marx. But the idea of communism predates Marx who is therefore in principle what we must be, inheritors of the original idea. Continue reading “Now or never”

 The ‘theory’ wreckage of historical materialism…

We have repeatedly suggested the need to reformulate a postmarxist version of socialism (with reference still to Marx, no doubt) that is a non-dogmatic restatement of the basic issues of praxis, hopefully beyond the mostly doomed efforts to concoct a science of history and/or the ‘evolution’ toward communism.
There the theories of historical materialism, and the associated ‘stages of production’ theory (e.g. ‘productive force determinism’) are a millstone around the neck of leftists.
Historical materialism belongs to the nineteenth century post-hegelian turn toward reductionist scientism and while the attempt to create an economic theory of history seemed a good one at the time such a procedure is no longer convincing and is certainly not science.
We are better off proceeding empirically on the issues of economic history and making the passage beyond capitalism a strategy of free agents, not historical forces. It seemed once that marx’s theories showed that communism would be inevitable. But he didn’t show that and a host of critics have mauled marxist for that and other reasons.
Further marxists were caught in marx’s (or engels’) attack on utopian versus scientific socialism. But if those theories are scientific then we end doing what we were doing all along: assessing the social and historical realm and considering the issue of socialism on the basis of values rather than spurious historical laws.

Source: The question of historical materialism – Darwiniana

Socialists tying their heads in knots: a real program/praxis is easy…

So-called socialists and Bhaskar Sunkara is barely a socialist beyond being a social democrat (? fair, everyone is hiding behind coopted terminologies), have attempted to manage some form of social democratic progressivism where the so-called revolutionary socialists are being sidelined into marginal status. Everyone is confused even as the real conditions of socialism are reappearing over the horizon.
Thus this book can only called too far to the left by system drones, and evidently they populate the LRB more or less exclusively.

We have suggested a different approach: everyone has been confused by marxism, and is bemused by the theories of Marx which are so tricky noone really understands the subject.
At a moment of crisis when it is clear that capitalism is failing still the left cannot get its act together.
We have critiqued marx’s theories because of this and suggested a simple praxis. The immense literature pro/con of professors, windbags and socialist halloween types needs to be written off. A constructive project of what we have given as an example in ‘democratic market neo-communism’ shows at once how easy it would be to create a viable postcapitalism, easy given the achievement of expropriation in some form.
Imagine the american system in which everything remains the same except for the declaration of expropriation. The whole game could continue beautifully as before, but with an immense inner change of principle. The above is actually too simple, but the point is clear.
The point is that in a smarter world we could resolve the false dilemma of liberalism/communism at a stroke. In practice there could be difficulties but the point is to elude the false opposites of liberalism and communism. Socialists get nowhere because they can’t define what they are doing, while capitalists have transformed themselves inexorably, jeckyll/hyde, from the heroes to the villains.
The point is these debates are a dead letter. We must create a system that works beyond the dualism of capitalism/socialism. Over a century of the marxist left this simple resolution has proven impossible because current marxist would rather see something fail then contradict marx. A good example is venezuela: a virtual planet of leftists ought to be trying to help this experiment, but instead we see doctrinaire consistency that would prefer to see the instance fail so the ‘real (marxist) revolution’ can occur. That is sheer idiocy.

The simple gesture of expropriation as a foundation makes the rest of the idiotic rumination from marx onward irrelevant.Marx/engels say as much in their manifesto. The later world of Capital, the book, has so confused everyone they cannot act. Expropriation might backfire and end in civil war, but the doctrines of phony socialism from DSA to Jacobin and Sanders are not going to arrive anywhere because t he bourgeoisie will remain in control.

Odd to see such a gaseous attack on Sunkara’s book for being too far to the left. It is like the centrist pile-on against Warren and Sanders last night as if they were Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.


Source: [Marxism] Millennial Socialism and Its Limits – Los Angeles Review of Books

 Marx the ecologist? How about Marx the postdarwinist?

Although it is important to try and reexamine Marx in terms of ecological issues it is misleading and counterproductive in the end to try and second guess him or to attempt to make ecology fit his work in the vein of Marx is always right and the codification of marxism as a theological system. The reverse is needed to make a new leftist synthesis in which ecology and socialism are blended from the start.
If the marxists at Monthly Review wish to ecologize marxist boilerplate let’s see if they can do the same for darwinism, which Marx initially rejected on sight and then, in a compromise we suspect, embraced dishonestly as a party line…
Perhaps Monthly Review can expose the darwinian class genocide of the left, resurrect Marx’s expose of Darwin the ideologist and free the left of its murderous ‘class warfare’ as class extermination….

Source: On Marx and Ecosocialism